Despite all the love they give us, all the licks on the face, dogs sure do get a bum rap -- just consider the disparaging use of the terms "dog" and "bitch." But that pales in comparison to the things humans do to canids (i.e., wolves), the unfortunate recipient of the brunt of man's canine abuse.
Fortunately there are organizations like the Wild Canid Center (WCC) that are trying to remedy the situation. In order to celebrate the newest addition to their family, the African Wild Dog, the WCC is putting on "An Evening with Wild Canid -- Out of Africa." The gala begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature cocktails, hor d'oeuvres, dinner, dancing, live music and a silent auction. In addition, you'll get a chance to meet Dr. Jack Hanna, host of Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, who will be receiving the WCC's Perkins Partner in Conservation Medal for his contributions to wildlife conservation and education.
But doing good often has its price, and here's the catch: Tickets are $125 and seating is limited. To make reservations, call 636-938-5900 or visit www.wolfsanctuary.org. Proceeds from the dinner will go toward the Wild Canid Center's preservation efforts. That's not just good for the wolves, but for all of us too. -- Guy Gray
Hell's Mermaids Jet-skiers ride for charity
In the tradition of Patrick Swayze's visionary Ex-Presidents, whose bold triathlon in Point Break included sky-diving, surfing and robbing banks, the first annual Wet Bike Poker Run at Carlyle Lake in Carlyle, Illinois, dishes up the tasty jet-ski, poker, progressive-dinner combo. Participants will whip their wet bikes along a sixteen-mile lake course, making five checkpoint stops to collect playing cards until they have a full poker hand. The best hand at day's end earns $1,000. With all $50 registration fees/donations going to benefit Feed the Children, you can add good will to that event list for the limber-minded triathlete. Nonwinning poker hands are eligible for prize drawings, and there will be free food and soda provided for contestants and volunteers. Call 618-594-8680 for registration info. -- Jedidiah Ayres
The Thrill of Victory The agony of clawed feet
Much has been written about illegal doping by track and field athletes and the upcoming Olympics, but none of the coverage has touched on the sports that would obviously require drug-enhancement for success, such as Prairie Dog Golf. Seriously, a prairie dog would have to be on some heavy-duty drugs to be able to stand on two legs, hold a golf club and then drive one down the fairway. Do those little earth-mutts even have thumbs?
It doesn't really matter; Prairie Dog Golf is actually a sport for humans ages two to ten, and it's totally drug-free (yay!). PDG, along with "Kangaroo Jump" and other animal-themed games, is part of the Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park's Zoolympics. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., kids can participate in these events for fun and glory. And for the enrichment of loving parents' photo albums, of course. Call 314-781-0900 for more information. -- Paul Friswold
When Plants Attack
Bladderworts sound like a painful affliction, but these anatomically named Missouri natives are merely carnivorous plants (calm down, hypochondriacs). Buy one and learn about it from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the St. Louis Carnivorous Plant Society's Show and Sale at the Missouri Botanical Garden (free with admission, 4344 Shaw Boulevard; 314-577-9400 or www.mobot.org). Other meat-munchers to check out: Venus flytraps and tropical pitcher plants (cheap pest control -- some eat rodents!). -- Alison Sieloff